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Tesla Motors Says a More Affordable EV Is Coming

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author photo by Doug DeMuro
  • Tesla Motors says more affordable EV on the way
  • CEO Musk says new model will be around $35,000
  • New EV still three or four years away

A more affordable Tesla is coming. The automaker recently announced plans for a more affordable EV than the pricey Model S sedan, which starts around $71,000 with shipping.

According to Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, the car will be less expensive than the Model S but still pricier than the popular and fully electric Nissan Leaf hatchback. It will also bring many new buyers to the Tesla brand, which is currently confined to those who can afford the Model S or its $1,000-plus monthly payments.

"With the Model S, you have a compelling car that's too expensive for most people," said Musk in an interview with "The Detroit News". "What the world needs is a great, affordable electric car. I'm not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission."

Musk didn't specify many details about the upcoming electric car, except that it's still three or four years away. He also mentioned it will retail for around half the price of the Model S and offer a maximum driving range of around 200 miles. That would be about three times the Leaf's EPA-certified range of 75 miles on a single charge. But it would also be more expensive, as the Leaf starts around $30,000.

In the meantime, Tesla has shown a prototype crossover called the Model X, which is scheduled to go into production next year. Featuring falcon doors that rise above the car like a bird's wings, the Model X boasts a 270-mile, fully electric range.

So far, the Model S has proven popular with shoppers interested in a fully electric luxury vehicle. With around 4,900 units sold, it was the most popular electric car in America during the first quarter of 2013, beating out the Leaf's 3,695 sales. The Model S even outsold the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which moved more than 4,400 units in the first quarter.

What it means to you: If Tesla Motors follows through on its promise to create a less-expensive new model, you may soon be able to park a Tesla in your driveway without a high-dollar budget.

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